New study claims octopuses came to Earth from space

(ORDO NEWS) — Summarizing decades of research on the rather “unusual” idea surrounding viruses from space raises questions about how scientific an approach can be when it comes to thinking about the history of life on Earth.

In a review published by Progress in Biophysics and Molecular Biology back in August 2018, 33 individuals were listed as authors. The journal is peer-reviewed and fairly well cited. So it’s not exactly a small or niche source.

Naturalist writer Stephen Fleischfresser details two of the world’s most famous scientists: Edward Steele and Chandra Wickramasinghe.

Steele is an immunologist, renowned for his views on evolution based on the acquisition of environmental gene changes rather than random mutations.

Wickramasingh, on the other hand, has pursued a somewhat less controversial career that has been recognized as empirical support for Sir Fred Hoyle’s hypothesis describing the formation of complex carbon molecules in interstellar dust.

According to Vikramasinghe, “Comets are carriers and spreaders of life in space, and life on Earth arose and developed as a result of the impact of comets.”

These include viruses that invade organisms, pushing their evolution in entirely new directions.

A report, titled Cause of the Cambrian Explosion — Terrestrial or Space ?, building on existing research, concludes that rain from extraterrestrial retroviruses played a key role in the diversification of life in our oceans approximately half a billion years ago.

“Thus, retroviruses and other viruses that are thought to be released in the traces of cometary debris have the potential to add new DNA sequences to earth’s genomes and cause further mutagenic changes in somatic and germ-line genomes,” the authors write.

It was during this period that a group of mollusks known as cephalopods first extended their tentacles from beneath their shells, branching into a dizzying array of sizes and shapes, in a remarkably short period of time.

The genetics of these organisms, which today include octopuses, squid and cuttlefish, are as bizarre as the animals themselves, in part due to their ability to edit their DNA.

The authors of the article are quite bold in claiming that these genetic oddities could be a sign of life from space.

“Therefore, the possibility cannot be discounted that cryopreserved squid and / or octopus eggs arrived in ice fireballs several hundred million years ago,” the researchers wrote.

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